MELBOURNE, Fla., Oct. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Doctors at Melbourne Internal Medical Associates (MIMA) Cancer Center are giving new hope to lung cancer patients using image-guided body radiosurgery. This new treatment, using technology from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR) is enabling doctors to zero in on early-stage tumors or metastatic lesions in the lung.
"We can offer this treatment to select lung cancer patients who are not candidates for conventional surgery -- patients with significant lung disease like emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or other medical conditions that preclude safe surgery," said Nanialei Golden, MD, radiation oncologist.
The new image-guided body radiosurgery treatment is made possible by combining real-time 3-D X-ray imaging, robotic patient positioning, automated beam shaping, and respiratory gating technologies from Varian to track and target tumors with unprecedented precision and speed. As a result, Golden and her team are able to complete their stereotactic body radiosurgery treatments in three to five days rather than the six to seven weeks normally required with conventional radiotherapy.
The MIMA team is delivering image-guided stereotactic radiosurgery using Varian's Trilogy™ medical linear accelerator and RPM™ respiratory gating device, which makes it possible to monitor and control tumor motion caused by breathing. Patients help to limit tumor motion by holding their breath at the moment of treatment. Precise targeting is achieved using 3-D X-ray images that pinpoint the location of the tumor when the lungs are full.
"We use the respiratory gating system to monitor and ensure that our patients are holding their breath properly during treatment. This keeps the targeted tumor still while radiation is being delivered," said Joseph Ting, PhD, chief medical physicist who helped to pioneer the new treatment at MIMA.
"Using this breath-hold technique, we can treat a smaller volume of normal lung while still giving the full intended dose of radiation to the targeted tumor," Golden added. "By limiting the amount of normal lung irradiated, we can minimize side effects."
Six lung cancer patients have been treated at MIMA using the new technique. "We've seen almost no toxicity," Golden said. "Some patients have experienced mild fatigue, but there has been no decline in breathing function or other respiratory complications that often occur with more conventional treatments."
"In the past, stereotactic radiosurgery has been used primarily to treat tumors in the brain, because these are virtually motionless, so accurate targeting is easier," Ting explained. "Body radiosurgery is a new procedure, made possible by the tumor imaging and tracking capabilities of our new Trilogy™ system. This is a significant new option for treating early-stage lung cancer. In addition to the significant clinical benefits, reduced treatment times have the potential to make a big difference in parts of the world where patient case loads are unmanageably large, or where there isn't enough treatment capacity."
According to Ting, clinicians at MIMA also use Varian's respiratory gating system in "free breathing" mode to treat more advanced lung cancer. "With larger lesions, which we treat over a longer period of time, we use the respiratory gating technology to synchronize the treatment delivery with the natural breathing pattern. The breath hold technique is used only with patients who are receiving stereotactic radiosurgery for a very small tumor over just a few days," he said.
ABOUT MELBOURNE INTERNAL MEDICINE ASSOCIATES (MIMA)
MIMA an independent, physician-owned multispecialty group offering patients comprehensive medical care throughout Brevard County, Florida. Comprised of over 100 physicians representing 23 medical specialties, MIMA's board-certified physicians provide high-quality medical care at 15 locations on Florida's Space Coast. The MIMA Cancer Center's Department of Radiation Oncology treats 80-90 patients per day, and has been offering image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) using technology from Varian Medical Systems since April 2005. For further information, visit http://www.mima.com/.
ABOUT VARIAN MEDICAL SYSTEMS
Varian Medical Systems, Inc., of Palo Alto, California is the world's leading manufacturer of integrated cancer therapy systems, which are treating thousands of patients per day. The company is also a premier supplier of X- ray tubes and flat-panel digital subsystems for imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 3,600 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 56 sales and support offices around the world. Additional information is available on the company's web site at http://www.varian.com/ .
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SOURCE: Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
Web site: http://www.mima.com/
Web site: http://www.varian.com/